Bringing Hope (Esperanza) to Honduras: Part 2

Denelle Esmay is a senior at Grand Canyon University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education (Dual Major). She and a team of GCU students traveled to Honduras on a global outreach trip in May 2014 to help spread hope to people of Honduras. Check out the second part of her mission—and keep reading throughout the summer to get more of her firsthand experiences on this GCU global outreach trip

Monday, May 12, 2014

Today was our first day teaching at the school! Amber and I taught English lessons to first and second grade classes, while Nicole, Gilliene and Diane held a couple of health lessons such as hand-washing and eating correctly. Llana and Tashina helped fill in for a sick teacher in a computer class. It was refreshing to teach in the schools because Amber and I are studying elementary and special education at Grand Canyon University.

We helped serve in the feeding kitchen, which served over 200 children. We were told that the teachers pick the poorest 200 out of 500-800 students who attend school daily in order to feed them. The remaining receive a snack called “arroz con leche” which consists of rice and milk provided by the teachers.

After a long first day of teaching greetings, colors, animals, etc. and after eating a nice lunch, the local girls at the children’s home, Nely and Chela, taught some of us how to wash clothes and do laundry. It was humbling to see how long it took, but how patient they were. The strange thing was that I felt like I was at home in Honduras, rather than on a two-week mission trip.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

We finished teaching second grade, then moved on to third grade. It was more difficult because the teachers took advantage of us being there to help in the classrooms; three out of the five classes that Amber and I taught were left without a teacher. However, the children seemed to be getting used to us being there and they warmed up to us immediately. One second grade boy, Frances, attached himself to my side immediately during each recess and was content sitting by my side and hugging me. It occurred to me that these children probably need a lot more attention than they receive, and it is a major blessing to be able to provide that even for a short time.

Then, after lunch and a siesta, half the group drove with Cristina, our Honduran host, to the women’s prison in the center of town. She held a Bible study with the beautiful women who were in prison for various unknown reasons. Going into the prison I was terrified, but as the doors were locked behind me and God led me to sit next to one of the women, my fear turned to peace. This was another Bible study that happened to occur in a prison. These women worshipped Jesus with beautiful songs of praise and prayer. It was difficult to see their living conditions, if you could call them that, but it was inspiring to see the Light in such dark places.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

We finished third grade and started fourth grade in the same manner as the two previous days. Again, the children responded very well to our teaching. This time, the teachers seemed to appreciate learning how to pronounce things in an American accent so most of them remained in their classrooms so they could learn as well.

After lunch, we received the rare opportunity to visit a Lenca village and watch how the women make the beautiful, brightly colored scarves and how they retrieve red beans from the bean pod plants. Our team felt very at ease spending the majority of our own money in the village purchasing these handmade scarves, baskets, table cloths, hair bows and many other creative souvenirs. It was nice to be able to minister to them and to spend a lot more money within the village than they would probably normally receive. As we left, our team felt comfortable knowing that these women who worked so hard daily for so little would be able to provide for their families for longer than usual.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Amber and I had the opportunity to train Llana and Tashina on how to teach English to the students. This was important because they would be teaching English with my group in Azulguapa and Dolores the next week.

While Amber and I taught the rest of fourth grade and part of fifth grade, Llana and Tashina taught the other half of fifth grade. Then, one teacher asked Amber and me to help him teach the pronunciations of some sentences in English and how to change sentences from positive to negative. It was refreshing to help the teacher the moment he needed it instead of coming into the classrooms with our own curriculum.

Then, after lunch, we roasted marshmallows to bring a little bit of the United States to girls at the children’s home. After we finished, it was the girls’ turn to show us a little bit of Honduran pleasure food. Nely and Chela taught our entire team the painstaking process of hand-making flour tortillas.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Our last day at Valero Meza school in La Esperanza was difficult because all the children with whom we had developed special bonds asked our team when we would return. The truth of “probably never”  seemed like the wrong answer, so the only answer we could use was, “I don’t know.” However, it was still heartbreaking to leave all these precious little children.

Llana, Tashina, Amber and I taught English pronunciations of some animals and the colors to each sixth grade class in a similar manner as before. However, this time, we took it a step further by asking the students to form sentences in English describing the animals by color. Nicole, Gilliene and Diane taught sex education to the girls and Pastor Carlos taught sex education to the boys. All in all, our visit to the schools was very successful for the students and teachers and for my team.

Cristina returned to the women’s prison so the rest of our team had the opportunity to study with the women and to see their living conditions. Then, because we had so many marshmallows left over, we decided to make a dessert as a present for the children’s home as we prepared to leave on Saturday. None of the children at the home had ever tried Rice Krispies Treats so our team thought it would be a nice treat to leave for them.

Bringing Hope (Esperanza) to Honduras: Part 1

Denelle Esmay is a senior at Grand Canyon University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education (Dual Major). She and a team of GCU students traveled to Honduras on a global outreach trip in May 2014 to help spread hope to people of Honduras. Check out the first part of her mission—and keep reading throughout the summer to get more of her firsthand experiences on this GCU global outreach trip

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Our journey to Honduras began early in the morning with a panicked wake up. The representative who was asked to shuttle our team to the airport arrived an hour and half earlier than our expected leaving time. After calling the airlines and getting things straightened out, our team took our time getting ready and ate breakfast, then piled into the shuttle to fly to Houston.

When we arrived in Houston, the team’s patience was tested: Our hotel was in the middle of nowhere and we had to travel at least 30 minutes to the nearest food establishment. This was after taking at least 2 hours to decide where to go for dinner!

After dinner, we discovered the spiritual gifts everyone had been given and we recognized where in the mission to Honduras each one could potentially be used. Then, we reflected on how each of us ended up as part of the team. It was shocking to hear that no one was originally supposed to go to Honduras, as many team members signed up for other trips or did not apply at all. Surely God would work in glorious ways through each one of us.

Friday, May 9, 2014

We started the day off very early in the morning to catch our flight to Tegulcigalpa, Honduras. After arriving, we drove for over three hours on a road that had more twists and turns than life itself, before arriving in the little town of La Esperanza. Honduras is a beautifully lush and green forest full of exuberant life. However, it is one of the poorest nations in Latin America and as we arrived at our home for the week, a children’s home by the name of La Casa Hogar de Immanuel, we experienced true poverty firsthand.

At our impromptu orientation during dinner, we discovered that water only works from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.–anything more than that requires the use of a bucket of water. If we wished for a warm shower, we had to boil our water and we were only allowed to take five-minute showers. Laundry had to be washed by hand on a stone tablet, meals were made on stoves of cement and lunch and dinner generally consisted of rice, beans and corn tortillas.

Saturday/Sunday, May 10-11, 2014

The day started early again as our team woke up, gobbled up some breakfast and headed to the markets to buy food for the week’s meals. We learned quickly that with our large backpacks, tall height, mostly pasty skin and cameraman, we were targeted by some covetous men. However, thanks to the concern of some of the beautiful women selling us food, we were able to get to safety and determine what we would truly need when out and about.

After lunch with some of the local pastors back at the children’s home, we went on a hike up a little mountain to view the entire city of La Esperanza. It was absolutely breathtaking! Our Creator is such an artist!

Sunday was our last free day to explore and enjoy the amazing masterpiece of Honduras before working in the schools, in the prison and in the villages. We went to a tourist park called Pulhapanzak which consisted of a clear river and waterfalls. We had the unique opportunity to go ziplining in a 10-layer course all throughout the park and over the waterfalls. It was nice to get a new perspective on the land as being over it was even more breathtaking than being on it!

Check out Campus News next month to read more about Denelle’s experiences on her mission in Honduras. Learn more about spiritual life and global outreach at GCU by visiting


The Importance of Great Instructors

The time is almost here to send out your college applications and apply to your dream schools! While you should consider many factors when deciding where to attend college, one factor that has recently proven to have a lasting impact is the quality of the faculty at a university. In fact, according to a poll by Gallup of over 30,000 college graduates across the country, highly selective, elite colleges don’t necessarily produce happier workers–but professors who connect with their students may play a large role.

Check out the original article from The Wall Street Journal to learn more about the importance of caring instructors in the lives of students.

We also encourage you to learn about the faculty and leadership team at Grand Canyon University as well as some of our esteemed main campus and online faculty.

To learn more about what GCU has to offer, call 800-800-9776 to speak with an admissions representative.


Summer Checklist for Soon-to-Be Seniors

Attention Class of 2015:

Lope by pool_150Your senior year is finally here (well, almost)! Your junior year was likely spent working hard to keep up your GPA and participating in extracurriculars. The work doesn’t end here, but you’re definitely in the home stretch. College applications are right around the corner and there’s no time like the present to start thinking about where you’d like to be when next summer rolls around.

To help steady the course, Grand Canyon University has compiled a summer checklist for soon-to-be seniors. Consider this the first pit stop in a road map to college (and beyond).


Sign up to take the SAT and/or ACT as soon as possible. Taking them now will give you enough time to retake the exams in the fall if you want to shoot for a higher score. Many colleges, including GCU, consider college aptitude scores when awarding scholarships.

  • GCU Reporting CodesCampus Tour_150
  1. ACT: 0092
  2. SAT: 4331


Start by making a list of all the college campuses you’d like to visit. These should be schools you’ve already researched in detail.  Whittle that list down to four or five top choices and try to coordinate visits this summer. Depending on geography, time and funds, you may be able to hit several schools in one trip.

Campus visits are a tremendous help when deciding which school is right for you. By being on campus, you’ll be able to really “see yourself” there next year–or not.


If you do not have one already, consider applying for a part-time job. It’s a good idea to start saving money now in order to ease the transition to college. Plus, employment is a fantastic resume boost and proves your responsibility and independence to college admissions teams.

Speaking of building your resume, think about taking a summer course at a local college or university. In addition to looking like you’re serious about your future, you’ll likely be able to get college credit for each course you take.

  • GCU offers dual enrollment to students wishing to get a head start on their college degree.


Narrow down your top picks and organize all the application deadlines and requirements. Put them on the calendar (in ink!) so you won’t miss a deadline.

In the meantime, start researching scholarship opportunities. While schools may offer you institutional scholarships, there are literally thousands of outside or private scholarship opportunities also open to you. Start searching online for scholarships you qualify for and apply—it might just pay off big time.

For more information about Grand Canyon University or to apply, contact an admissions representative at 800-800-9776 or


Campus Eats: Your Guide to Dining at GCU

When you’re moving out for the first time on your own, you may feel intimidated. You have to do your own laundry, keep your dorm room clean and find your own meals. Fortunately, Grand Canyon University has made it easy to grab yummy meals every day of the week! We offer delicious dining options in our Student Union, Thunder Alley and around campus, plus a variety of meal plans to help make campus dining even easier. You won’t have to worry about heading off campus to find your next meal–we’ve brought some of the most popular eateries in the country right here to you:

The Grill 360

Conveniently located on the first floor of the Student Union, The Grill 360 is the place to go when your hunger is out of control. This all-you-can-eat cafeteria features a Mongolian Wok-style station, pizza station, salad bar, dessert station and more. 


On the second floor of the Student Union, our Starbucks is one of the largest in the United States. You can enjoy all of Starbucks regular menu as well as your seasonal favorites, from pumpkin spice lattes in the fall to peppermint hot chocolates in the winter. 


Who doesn’t love chicken? Our campus Chick-fil-A offers all of the classic menu items, including chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, waffle fries and salads.

Subway/Chick.fil.a Grand OpeningSubway

Enjoy fresh sandwiches and veggies every day of the week at our campus Subway. They serve up all of your favorite sandwiches, customized with your favorite toppings!

Mein Bowl

Serving up meat and veggie dishes, Mein Bowl offers flavorful Asian cuisine. They also have a sushi bar with a selection of fresh Japanese-style items.

Zoyo Neighborhood Yogurt

Enjoying a cup of frozen yogurt is the perfect way to stay cool during a hot Phoenix summer! Fill your cup with the flavors of your choice and add toppings to customize your treat.

Other Dining Options

GCU offers a few more options around campus, including Simply To Go and Late Night Grill in Thunder Alley, a concession stand in GCU Arena and a Lopes Mart in Chaparral Hall. Wherever you are on campus, it’s easy to pick up a quick bite!

We also host Food Truck Days and Farmers’ Markets during the fall and spring semesters to offer you even more tasty choices. Some of our recent food trucks have included Mojo Bowl, Carh’s Kitchen, Aioli Burger, Waffle Crush, Grilled Cheese Truck and more!

In fall 2014, we also anticipate adding Mojo Bowl and Qdoba to our list of campus dining options.

Meal Plans

For fall 2014, GCU is offering a variety of weekly and block plans, making it easy to eat on campus in a way that works best for you. Our Weekly Plans give you a certain amount of meal swipes per week, while our Block Plans give you a certain number of meals per semester.

Check out to learn more about our dining options and which meal plan may work best for you.


New Program at GCU: Bachelor of Arts in Worship Arts

Are you the next Christian rock star? Grand Canyon University is proud to announce the launch of the Bachelor of Arts in Worship Arts through the College of Theology. The BA in Worship Arts is designed to prepare students for careers in contemporary worship ministry and the Christian music industry. The program offers students a strong biblical and theological foundation as well as knowledge in worship leadership, musical performance, production and business management. Bart Millard, the lead singer of MercyMe, has been a consultant.

This program will launch in fall 2014 on our ground campus only and offers students a unique opportunity to connect with the worship industry on both a local level and on a more global scale. It carries out the College of Theology’s mission to help students find their purpose in Christ and features four emphases to help students gain the education they need to succeed in their chosen path:

  • Digital MediaIs your dream job making rock stars look good on TV? Students prepare for a career in visual media aspects of worship ministry (videographer, audio mixer, motion graphics artist, video editor) by learning the technical and visual storytelling skills necessary to produce high-quality video, graphics and audio for short- or long-format video productions.
  • Worship Management – Do you want to manage the talent? Students prepare for careers in planning, organizing, marketing and managing worship ministry for both large and small ministries as well as touring operations for Christian music artists. This program is designed to equip students with competencies necessary for project management, business planning, budget development and control, talent management and event promotion.
  • Worship MinistrySo, you’re a star in the making. With this degree, students gain the skills necessary for a career in local worship ministry by participating in a variety of worship-related ensembles throughout their degree and completing a capstone internship under the supervision of experienced worship leaders in local ministry settings.
  • Worship ProductionGo behind the scenes of Christian rock concerts! Students prepare for a career in the production aspects of worship ministry, including lighting, production design and sound recording. Coursework emphasizes contemporary worship lighting on numerous platforms, scenic design and technical direction, OSHA regulations regarding safety as well as practical sound recording and reinforcement techniques.

For more information about this program, please visit or contact an admissions representative at 800-800-9776.

* Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. (800-621-7440;

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at Please note, not all GCU programs are available in all states and in all learning modalities. Program availability is contingent on student enrollment.


New Programs at GCU: Computer Science and Information Technology

GCU is on the rise, adding academic programs in emerging fields to already robust curricula representing some of the fastest-growing career paths in the country. We emphasize individual attention and offer a dynamic learning environment for both traditional undergraduate students and working professionals.

In fall 2014, we will launch the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology on our ground campus only. Each of these new programs features three emphases to help students find their purpose and gain the education they need to succeed in their chosen path.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

This program prepares students to design, install, maintain and operate computer systems as well as perform programming and systems analysis.

Emphases include:

  • Big Data and Analytics – Students explore some of the major problems and trends associated with the storage of huge volumes of data.
  • Game and Simulation Development – Students apply theoretical concepts of computing and simulation in order to create applications for entertainment, education or scientific visualization.
  • Business Entrepreneurship –Students learn how to effectively build and leverage networks in order to identify and grow business opportunities and sustain long-term relationships.

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology

This program provides students with the knowledge and practical, hands-on expertise needed to care for both an organization’s information technology infrastructure and the people who use it.

Emphases include:

  • Health IT– Students acquire an understanding of the value of health informatics as well as how it can reduce health care costs and increase access.
  • Technology Innovation – Students learn to recognize and evaluate opportunities for technical innovations that can lead to commercial products.
  • Business Entrepreneurship – Students explore the foundation for business leaders and innovators of new technologies and business processes. This program provides preparation in problem-solving using technology.

For more information about these programs, please visit or contact an admissions representative at 800-800-9776.

* Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. (800-621-7440;

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at Please note, not all GCU programs are available in all states and in all learning modalities. Program availability is contingent on student enrollment.


GCU Summer Camps

School is drawing to a close. Lockers are being cleaned out. Those last-minute pop quizzes are a thing of the past (for now). The pool is calling your name. All of this can only mean one thing—it’s summertime.

Summer is for recharging your batteries. But if you’re a soon-to-be college student, it’s also a great time to devote yourself to a passion. If that passion happens to be for the performing arts, consider a Grand Canyon University summer camp. The College of Fine Arts and Production is offering two camps on campus this summer for the dancers and film buffs in all of us.

GCU Summer Dance Intensive

Weekdays, June 2-13, 2014

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Exalt in dance at GCU! Kick off your summer break by lifting up your dance practice at this two-week-long day camp. Learn from accomplished instructors in GCU’s growing dance department and sample the following courses:

  • Jazz
  • Ballet
  • Contemporary
  • Composition14COF015-SummerDanceIntensive-FLY_FINAL
  • Health for Dancers (Pilates, Conditioning & Nutrition)

Students will also get to know the GCU campus and our Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education program.

Family and friends are invited to a demonstration event Friday, June 13 at 3 p.m. in Ethington Theatre. Demonstration presented by students participating in both weeks.

WHO: Ages 12-18 with some previous dance experience


Both Weeks, June 2 – 13: $315

Week 1, June 2 – 6: $185

Week 2, June 9 – 13: $185

Daily Drop in Rate: $45

*Covers all materials and lunch

To RSVP and for more information, visit

GCU Zombie Film Camp

July 23-27, 2014


Grand Canyon University is getting zombified this summer. Learn about film-making, special effects makeup and acting. Students will mash it all together to make an original cult classic zombie film.

Participants will stay overnight in one of our suite-style residence halls and get to know our Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film program.

Parents are invited to a screening of the final product Friday, June 27 at 11 a.m.

WHO: High school students

COST: $290 for the week (covers all materials, meals and a stay in the dorms)

To RSVP and for more information, visit



‘Lopes Faculty Profile: Dr. Kimberly LaPrade

Kim LaPradeDr. Kimberly LaPrade is the dean of the College of Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Capella University in 2008 and is a proud Grand Canyon University alum who received her M.Ed. in Secondary Education and B.A. in English/Sociology in 2000 and 1990, respectively. Dr. LaPrade’s research efforts focus on topics related to teacher leadership and aspects of teacher preparation, performance and assessment.

In addition, Dr. LaPrade serves on several committees and holds membership or volunteers in several professional and community associations, such as The Education Coalition, Soroptomist International of the Kachinas and the Valley of the Sun Children Advisory Council.

We asked Dr. LaPrade a couple of questions about the benefits of pursuing an education degree and the GCU experience:

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing an education degree?

To pursue a job in education gives students a wonderful opportunity to serve others while living their faith. There is no more important job than educating our children and youth! If you want to be a teacher, remember:

  • All life experiences are “job interviews.”  Be professional in all you say and do.
  • Learning how to manage your time is a necessity as a teacher.  Begin now to set good time management habits.
  • Read professional education journals to enhance your own professional and pedagogical knowledge and to assist you in writing good scholarly papers.
  • Hone your leadership and teaching skills. Become involved in opportunities to volunteer in your community working with children/youth.

What would you like future students to know about GCU and the College of Education?

Here at GCU, we believe teaching is a calling, not just a job. We have over 60 years of history preparing educators to serve their communities. Also, given the high quality of our programs and faculty, we support our graduates of licensure programs during their first year of teaching or leading—this is known as the COE Promise.


Great Moments at GCU: 2013 Edition

Grand Canyon University continues to grow! Last year was a big one for all ‘Lopes as our campus continues to expand to make room for our growing traditional campus student population. We are truly blessed to have enthusiastic students and a great campus community.

To celebrate our year, here are some of our picks for the top moments of 2013:year-14

  • March 2013: Former Phoenix Suns star Dan Majerle is named as the new head coach of the ‘Lopes men’s basketball team. (Read More)
  • May 2013: GCU announces plans to add engineering and technology curriculum and programs for the 2014-15 academic year. (Read More)
  • June 2013: The ‘Lopes earn the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup for NCAA Division II for the second year in a row. (Read More)
  • July 2013: GCU officially announces plans to build an East Valley campus in Eastmark, a new community in Mesa. (Read More)
  • Fall 2013: Two new suite-style residence halls (Saguaro Hall and Chaparral Hall) open to help accommodate our growing student population.
  • Fall 2013: Enrollment records reach new highs, with approximately 8,200 on campus and over 50,000 online.
  • Fall 2013: GCU is named the #2 small company in America by Forbes magazine. (Read More)
  • September 2013: One of the largest Starbucks in the country opens in the newly renovated GCU Student Union. (Read More)
  • September 2013: Grand Canyon teams up with Alhambra High School to open the Learning Lounge, a free tutoring program for high school students. (Read More)
  • October 2013: GCU announces tuition will remain at $16,500 for the 2014-15 academic year. This is the sixth year in a row tuition has remained frozen at GCU. (Read More)

Thanks for another great year, ‘Lopes! We can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for us!